Lake Forest Women Maintain Lead, Men a Solid Second at MWC Championships
The Forester women's swimming & diving team leads Grinnell College by 77 points with one day to go at the Midwest Conference Championship Meet at Lawrence University. The Lake Forest men, led by sophomore Garr Punnett's second individual title in as many days, are comfortably in second place.
Lake Forest won its third women's relay in as many tries to start Saturday's finals. Freshman Kelsie Miller, junior Becky Shaak, sophomore Jill Pastick, and junior Kelsey Hoeper finished in the 200-medley relay in 1:52.06, just .15 seconds ahead of runner-up Grinnell. Sophomore Garr Punnett, junior Alex Marks, freshman Kevin Barbrick, and sophomore Zach Wenner were second on the men's side with a time of 1:35.17, less than four-tenths of a second off the school record.
The final three dives in the women's 3-meter and men's 1-meter diving events were next and juniors Sam Gardner and Matt Perry were the runners-up. Gardner finished with 471.55 points for her second NCAA Championship Meet-qualifying score of the season and Perry's 423.60 points broke a 32-year-old team record and are less than two points shy of the NCAA qualifying mark. Freshmen Christina (457.90 points) and Sarah (427.70) Pekar placed finished third and fourth and also posted NCAA qualifying scores. Senior Jade Perkins closed out her career with a sixth-place score of 401.50, and juniors Chandler Foster (391.45) and Alyx Smagacz (352.75) were eighth and ninth. Recordings of divers posting qualifying marks will be reviewed by a national committee, which will then select the participants in the NCAA Championships.
Shaak earned her second victory and posted her second NCAA Division III B-cut qualifying time in the next event, the 400-IM. Her time of 4:33.70 was more than 18 seconds ahead of second place. Sophomores Sarah Stoklosa (4:51.80) and Sabrina Letwin (4:58.47) finished third and fifth, respectively. Junior Jake Albion was Lake Forest's only representative in the men's 400-IM and he placed fifth in 4:36.07.
Miller finished fourth in the 100-butterfly with a time of 1:01.58 and Pastick was fifth just a tenth of a second behind Miller. A day after winning the 200-IM, Punnett prevailed in the men's 100-butterfly by more than a second-and-a-half on Saturday. His preliminary time of 51:43 seconds ranks him second in team history, the same spot he earned in the 200-IM.
Sophomore Loren Dutca and Wenner were the runners-up in the women's and men's 200-freestyle. Dutca finished in 1:58.75 and Wenner's time of 1:43.86 ranks him fifth in program history. Senior Amy Finn (1:59.27) was third in the women's race and freshman Brock Mone (1:48.67) placed seventh in the men's.
The top Forester female in the 100-breaststroke was freshman Jessica Hanch, who won the consolation heat in 1:13.02. Marks, who won the event as a freshman but finished third last year, regained the title on Saturday with a time of 58.32 seconds. Barbrick finished third in 59.41.
Hoeper, Miller, and junior Meghan Mason finshed 1-2-3 in the women's 100-backstroke. Hoeper's prelim time of 59.48 seconds ranks her third in team history and Miller's 59.93 is fourth. Mason finished just ahead of a pair of Grinnell swimmers in 1:01.42. Sophomore David Albion posted the meet's eighth-best time in the prelims to barely qualify for the final, where he jumped up to third with a time of 55.51 seconds. Junior Diego Ledesma was eighth in 56.42.
Saturday's competition ended with the 800-freestyle relay and the Forester women won again. Dutca, Finn, Pastick, and Shaak finished in 7:57.00, more than four seconds ahead of the runner-up quartet from Lawrence. Freshmen Mark Wilcoxen, Ethan Heinrich, Mitchell Reiner, and Mone were third in the men's race with a time of 7:17.52.
The Forester women will try to hold onto their lead tomorrow to claim their first team title since 1998. The prelims will begin at 9:00 a.m. and the finals, starting with the fastest heat of the 1650-freestyle, will begin at 4:00 p.m. Sunday's other events are the 200-backstroke, 100-freestyle, 200-breastsroke, 200-butterfly, and 400-freestyle relay.